From a nightmare I awake to realize I’m being propagandized. In a cold sweat I sit up in bed and understand that the mainstream media has made a play for my mind. Staring into the darkness I understand too that I have remained silent in the face of hate, and I feel ashamed.
The hardest lies to discover are those we want to believe. God, how we cling to our safe, happy little lies that allow us to go on thinking everything is okay and that everyone likes us. No one wants to be hated.
It is the hate that made me see; it is the hate that spawned the nightmare and the terrifying vision of a truth I did not want to admit. Turn on the TV; flip open a political periodical; riff through the pages of your local newspaper and you will see it: the hate. The hate for anyone who does not agree with todays' journalist.
I sit in front of my TV set, a middle-aged American woman, flitting from channel to channel, and suddenly it’s as if a lifetime’s accumulation of scales have fallen from my eyes and ears and for the first time I see and hear hate everywhere. It's never been like this before; I'm sure of it.
One commentator rips a politician to shreds; a journalist eviscerates his opponent. It's not just analysis or opinion based on facts. No, it's bloody and it's below the belt and it's utterly personal. Things that should not be said are said and things that should be are left out. What comes through loud, clear, and consistently is the same thing, over and over again, with terrifying regularity: hate. Hate for anyone who holds an opposing opinion. Childish hate. Irrational hate. Hate that sends chills down my spine. Hate that runs around like a madd imbecile, silencing opponents.
It’s the political writers, the news anchors, the men and women with microphones pressed to their lips and the late-night opinionators who plead the causes of their own side and endeavor to sway my thinking. The politicians fade away: it’s about the journalists themselves. They say they are trying to make America better, but woe to you if you don't make it their brand of better America. All of this, every news blurb, every column, every sound bite, every single God-bless-America spin and schpiel is about an individual member of the media and the powers-that-be who stand behind them telling me what to think. Who are these powers? Men with money? Why do they want me to believe only what they believe?
I begin to gag, because I realize that they are ramming something down my throat. “Spit it out!” my brain says. My brain says: “Spit it out and think for yourself. Spit out the hate.” Without the hate, there would be no nightmare. It's the hate I gag on.
The shred of truth in all of this hatred is that it isn't really about politics. This is not about whether or not you voted for Barack Obama. This is not about being Republican or Democrat or conservative or liberal. This is about the media war for our minds based on their hunger for power and their own personal need to be loved, adored, and in control. Agree with them, and they love you. Disagree with them, and they will destroy you. Take their side and they will elevate you, oppose them and they will silence you. I don't know why they should care about little old you or me, accept that they use us to accomplish what they want. Do they really think we are this stupid? Are we this stupid? Do we decide what to do and what to think and how to act based on what we see on TV or read in print? Do we really? Are we like sheep being led to the polls?
I feel sure of it: they are trying to tell us what to think because they are angry and certain that they know what is best for you and I. You and I: we are too stupid to make America better. Even the politicians we elect are too stupid. Everyone is at the mercy of the media.
I don’t believe they’ve ever sunk this low. For certain the media has always tried to influence the thinking of their audience, but it’s the recent blizzard of hate that is whitening our field of vision until everything is a blur that is finally making me realize that a line has been crossed.
Once upon a time, news anchors and media columnists and commentators of various kinds danced along the borders of vengeance and outright antipathy, afraid to flagrantly cross over into the land of lies in an unhidden bid to tell us what to think. Now, they blatantly trespass the territory of our free will and barrage us with hate if we possess an unpopular opinion. It’s as if they believe that all any American wants is just to be loved. Popularity at all costs; as in high school. Yes, they think that we just want to live high school forever.
I won’t listen to them anymore. The bickering on TV, the backbiting in print. The hate has never been this bad, nor has the thirst for revenge by the people you see on your television: all of them, each and every one, who reach out from the air waves to take hold of your brain waves. Eight years of Republican rule might be to blame; now the pendulum swings back. And it swings with a vengeance. It swings with vengeance. Unprecedented vengeance. The pendulum on the clock of our country's future strikes the hour and the little bird emerges and says: "Vengeance is mine; vengeance, like you've never seen it before. Listen up, you stupid Americans: this time, the media is taking over and making sure you never mess up again."
You think I’m crazy? Let me be crazy then. Perhaps that’s the only way to beat the hate, and the only way to escape the angry drum of the numbing media mantra that pulsates like the terrifying, disembodied brain of children’s science fiction. “It” wants you, and It will have you unless you resist. Do you see what I'm saying?
Or maybe you just hate me.
The Long Hiatus and The Dress
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